Doctor Marie Flores, proper, examines affected person Karla Olguin, left, at an AltaMed clinic in Pico Rivera, Calif. (Christina Home/Los Angeles Instances/TNS)
People with disabilities usually have hassle accessing well being care. Now a gaggle of federal lawmakers is looking for an investigation into why.
A half-dozen senators are asking the Authorities Accountability Workplace to review the limitations dealing with Individuals with disabilities once they search entry to medical remedy, providers, gear and extra.
The request is available in a letter despatched late final month to the pinnacle of GAO that was signed by U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Unwell., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
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“We write to request that the Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) conduct a research on limitations individuals with disabilities expertise in accessing healthcare — together with reproductive healthcare — in the US,” the senators wrote. “Despite the fact that discrimination primarily based on incapacity is prohibited by regulation, individuals with disabilities proceed to face points with accessibility in the case of getting the healthcare they want, once they want it. The dearth of accessible healthcare contributes to and exacerbates well being disparities skilled by individuals with disabilities.”
Particularly, the senators observe that individuals with disabilities usually encounter inaccessible examination tables, scales and different medical gear. What’s extra, they’ve hassle accessing interpreters or they don’t seem to be provided the chance to make choices utilizing supported decision-making, amongst different limitations.
The state of affairs has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as individuals with disabilities have been denied care when overwhelmed well being care techniques have turned to disaster requirements of care, the letter signifies.
These points persist regardless of “robust protections” of the rights of individuals with disabilities to entry equal care by provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Part 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Reasonably priced Care Act, based on the lawmakers.
The senators are asking GAO to look into what’s recognized about limitations to well being take care of individuals with disabilities, what information the federal government collects on this difficulty and what oversight efforts are presently in place. The lawmakers additionally wish to understand how a lot coaching well being care suppliers are receiving about serving individuals with disabilities, what number of people with disabilities work in well being care and the way monetary limitations skilled by individuals with disabilities influence their entry to well being care.
As well as, GAO is being requested to advocate what extra the federal authorities can do to deal with these points.
“For the tens of millions of Individuals with disabilities who nonetheless shouldn’t have equitable entry to healthcare, regardless of the protections afforded to them by the ADA, the ACA and Part 504, this is just one step in direction of reaching fairness,” reads the letter to GAO.